Formby is predominantly a links, but the presence of mature pines and heather gives a hint of the heath
Formby Golf Club Course Review
Green Fee Range: £90-£150
Medal Tee: Par 72 – 6,725 Yards
Visitor Times: Tee times are available most days except Saturday until after 15:30. There are member times reserved every day, but also some visitor times available.
Formby Golf Club Course Review
While many links courses lack the framing and variety offered by trees, Formby offers the best of both worlds with an almost heathland feel in places. Strong par 4s abound, and Matteo Manassero won The Amateur here in 2009.
Related: Top 100 Courses UK and Ireland
Founded in 1884, the original course at Formby was redesigned by Willie Park at the start of the 20th century.
A plan of the course from 1912 still hangs in the attractive and historic clubhouse, alongside a 1994 plan showing various alterations by the likes of James Braid, Hawtree & Taylor and Donald Steel.
Formby is a unique course. Predominantly it’s a links with fast-running fairways, deep bunkers and firm greens.
But with some holes playing past mature pines over heather-lined fairways, a golfer could be forgiven for thinking they were playing a heathland course.
The persistent breeze, however, provides a reminder the sea is just a few sand hills away. In any sort of wind, Formby becomes a very testing layout.
Accuracy from the tee is crucial, as straying off line will invariably result in a hack out of one of the treacherous pot bunkers or a sideways knock from the trees.
Around the greens, a full arsenal of chips and pitches is required. Sometimes the low, linksy, runner is the shot of choice, but in other places, elevated greens demand a more lofted approach.
Course changes since previous ranking
According to secretary manager Stuart Leech, “Since 2016 we have lengthened the course on three new championship tees but not too much else. However, we have just engaged the services of Martin Ebert for a full course review of each hole, with a view to improving everything here. We will then split this down into costed projects and these will be delivered as part of the ten year plan.
There will also be some woodland management carried out, starting in the next few weeks, which will thin trees in many places, including opening up the vista from the 9th tee to encompass a full panorama of the Irish Sea. Re-planting will go on in other areas as part of the project and we have done this in consultation with natural England and the national trust.
We are applying to SSSI with the aid of STRI and Alistair Beggs, who has this year been appointed course agronomist, to mine for sand to top dress fairways on a five year programme, and we embarked two years ago on the same programme Royal Troon did to firm up the greens. This is working well, with almost 200 tonnes of dressing applied each year, and a non-intrusive aeration programme with additional machinery purchased specifically with this programme in mind. We have noticed significant improvement in our firmness readings, the course receiving significant plaudits, especially during the English Amateur Championship this year.”
Golf Monthly Verdict
One of the very best on a coastline packed with excellent golf